Developing Professional Habits

Being more professional in your daily life will likely translate into more career success and higher income.

To prepare for success in future jobs, it is recommended that high school students develop professional habits that will help them move from their first jobs to successful, professional positions. Having professional habits before you need them will speed up the process of moving to better jobs or advancing where you currently work. Professional habits refer to behaviors and attitudes that promote success in the workplace, such as being punctual, having a positive attitude, and taking initiative.


One of the most important professional habits is punctuality. According to a survey by CareerBuilder, 29% of employers have fired an employee for being late, and 53% of employers expect their employees to be on time every day and 41% of employers have fired people for being late. Being punctual shows that an employee respects their colleagues' time and values the company's productivity. Therefore, high school students should develop the habit of being punctual, as it will help them stand out in the workplace and increase their chances of success.

Here are some tips for high school students to improve their punctuality:

  • Set an alarm: Use an alarm clock or a phone alarm to wake up early and start the day on time.
  • Plan ahead: Prepare everything you need for the day, such as clothes, homework, and lunch, the night before.
  • Estimate travel time: Calculate how long it takes to get to school or work, and add extra time in case of unexpected delays.
  • Be aware of the time: Check the clock regularly and keep track of time to avoid being late.
  • Avoid distractions: Minimize distractions, such as phone calls, social media, or TV, that can cause delays in the morning.
  • Leave early: Aim to arrive at least 5-10 minutes early to allow time for unexpected delays.
  • Be accountable: Take responsibility for your punctuality and make it a priority in your daily routine.
  • Get support: Seek help from family, friends, or teachers to hold you accountable and provide encouragement to be on time.

Positive Attitude:

Another crucial professional habit is having a positive attitude. A study by Leadership IQ found that 46% of new hires fail within the first 18 months, and 89% of those failures are due to attitudinal reasons, such as lack of coachability, low levels of emotional intelligence, and motivation problems. On the other hand, employees with a positive attitude are more likely to succeed, as they tend to be more motivated, productive, and engaged. Therefore, high school students should develop the habit of maintaining a positive attitude, as it will help them overcome challenges and succeed in their future careers.

Here are some tips for high school students to improve their attitude and interpersonal skills:

  • Practice positivity: Start each day with a positive attitude, focus on solutions instead of problems, and avoid negative self-talk.
  • Show respect: Treat others with respect and kindness, listen actively, and avoid interrupting or talking over others.
  • Be a team player: Collaborate with classmates, participate in group activities, and be willing to compromise for the common goal.
  • Practice active listening: Focus on understanding others' perspectives, ask questions, and give feedback to demonstrate active listening.
  • Communicate clearly: Speak clearly, use appropriate body language, and avoid slang or jargon to ensure effective communication.
  • Show empathy: Put yourself in others' shoes, acknowledge their feelings, and express sympathy or support when needed.
  • Learn from feedback: Accept constructive criticism, learn from mistakes, and use feedback to improve interpersonal skills.
  • Manage emotions: Control emotions, such as anger or frustration, and practice self-regulation to avoid conflicts or misunderstandings.

Working with others

Working with others/teams is an essential skill for success in any field. High school students can improve their ability to work in a team by practicing active listening, showing respect for other's opinions, and being willing to compromise. Effective communication is also crucial, and students should practice clear and concise communication while avoiding misunderstandings or assumptions. Furthermore, students can contribute to the team's success by taking ownership of their roles, contributing their unique strengths and ideas, and being willing to adapt to changing situations. By developing these skills, high school students can set themselves up for success in their future careers, where collaboration and teamwork are often necessary for success.

Here are some ways high school students can improve working with others:

  • Practice active listening: Listen carefully to others, ask questions, and clarify your understanding to show that you value their opinions.
  • Show respect: Treat others with respect and kindness, avoid interrupting or talking over others, and appreciate diverse perspectives.
  • Be collaborative: Work together with teammates, contribute your unique skills and ideas, and be willing to compromise for the common goal.
  • Communicate effectively: Use clear and concise communication, avoid assumptions or misunderstandings, and give and receive feedback constructively.
  • Be accountable: Take ownership of your role, fulfill your responsibilities, and be reliable and trustworthy.
  • Be adaptable: Be flexible in dealing with change, be open to new ideas and perspectives, and be willing to adjust your approach when needed.
  • Support others: Be supportive of your teammates, provide encouragement, and offer help when needed.
  • Learn from others: Be open to learning from your teammates, seek feedback, and be willing to improve your skills and knowledge.

Taking Initiative:

Lastly, taking initiative is a professional habit that can set high school students apart from their peers. A study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that the top attribute employers look for in new hires is the ability to work in a team. However, employers also value employees who take initiative and are self-starters. By taking initiative, employees can demonstrate their leadership skills, creativity, and problem-solving abilities. Therefore, high school students should develop the habit of taking initiative, as it will help them stand out in the workplace and increase their chances of success.

Here are some tips for high school students to take initiative in their life:

  • Set goals: Define your short-term and long-term goals, create a plan of action, and take steps to achieve them.
  • Seek opportunities: Look for opportunities to learn, grow, and develop new skills, such as internships, volunteering, or extracurricular activities.
  • Ask questions: Ask questions to gain knowledge, seek feedback, and show curiosity.
  • Take responsibility: Take ownership of your actions, accept accountability for your mistakes, and demonstrate reliability.
  • Innovate: Find ways to improve processes, suggest new ideas, and be creative in problem-solving.
  • Network: Build relationships with peers, mentors, and professionals in your field of interest, attend events, and seek guidance.
  • Be proactive: Anticipate problems, take action before they occur, and demonstrate initiative in finding solutions.
  • Be self-motivated: Set high standards for yourself, be self-disciplined, and stay motivated to achieve your goals.

Get ready for success:

Developing professional habits is critical for high school students who want to succeed in the workforce. By being punctual, maintaining a positive attitude, and taking initiative, students can increase their chances of getting hired and promoted. These habits are also essential for building strong relationships with colleagues, which can lead to career advancement and personal satisfaction. It is recommended that high school students start curating these professional habits as early as possible to set themselves ready for success in their future careers.


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